- Use the best available scientific data and knowledge to inform decision making in regard to climate change. Expertise and knowledge on climate change is spread across different agencies, institutions and organizations. Such science needs to be collected with an efficient data system, used to train NPS staff, and integrated into all relevant aspects of park management. We will retain the full context of scientific information, including assumptions, uncertainty, limitations, and competing hypotheses.
- Collaborate with partners to develop, test, and distribute the best results from climate change models to inform NPS activities. The NPS has an extensive library of ecosystem understanding, natural resource vital signs, and a monitoring framework that can be used to identify which park attributes are sensitive to climate change. We must also evaluate the latest climate change models to see which geographic areas and parks are most likely to experience relatively rapid changes. The NPS will build climate modeling expertise to evaluate and interpret the results, and such information will be distributed to park scientists and managers.
- Inventory and monitor key attributes of natural and cultural resources, and the visitor experiences likely to be impacted by climate change. Parks scientists will evaluate and revise where necessary the existing cultural and natural resource inventory and monitoring programs to detect climate change effects. Using these data, scientists will develop and validate methods to assess the vulnerability of cultural resources, natural resources, social and economic systems, and surrounding communities to climate change impacts. With scientific partners, we will develop criteria to measure key concepts such as resilience that are essential in our adaptation strategies.
- Acquire, provide, and apply scientific information to reduce the National Park Service's carbon footprint. The NPS will begin greenhouse gas accounting for the entire system of parks and offices and seek new ways to reduce the emission of CO2 as well as evaluate the consequences of bio-sequestration on park lands.
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The Chihuahuan Desert Network is currently developing protocols to monitor several vital signs that may reflect current and future impacts of climate change. This brief offers a summary of how Chihuahuan Desert Network monitoring will detect future change. Read more
Climate change may have direct and/or indirect effects on many elements of Southern Plains network ecosystems, from streams and grasslands to fires and birds. Read more
The combination of high. elevation and a semi-arid climate makes the Colorado Plateau particularly vulnerable to climate change. Climate models predict that over the next 100 years, the Southwest will become warmer and even more arid, with more extreme droughts than the region has experienced in the recent past. Read more
In 2010 the National Park Service began to study the link between population declines of desert bighorn sheep and the effects of climate change. Read more